Agriculture Underfunded


In addition to the last article from the UN Services, slightly singing their own praises by reporting approaches to end food insecurity in Africa and extolling their apparently stimulating agricultural aid in Rwanda,  I’d like to share this article with you, which was published at the exact same day…

EAST AFRICAN BUSINESS WEEK

by Dias NYESIGA 22 July 2013

Photo: Prison Fellowship Rwanda

With only five percent of the latest budget being allocated to the country’s leading employment sector – agriculture, experts are saying there is need for the government to increase this money to support rural economic development.

“The government should focus more on regulation and policy environment to encourage the participation of the private sector in rural farm financing,” Patrick Oketa, a finance and agro-business specialist told East African Business Week, Agriculture accounts for over 90% of the labour force and contributes about 36% of the GDP.

About 70% of the country’s export revenues come from mainly coffee and tea. Women dominate farming with 53% involved in working in the fields.

Rwanda’s budget allocated to agriculture rose steadily from 3.3 per cent in 2006 peaking at 6.4 per cent in 2009/10 and has slightly declined to five per cent in the current 2013/14 budget.

However, this is below the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) pledge by countries to allocate 10% of their national budgets to agriculture.

But one of the major setbacks governments face as they work to increase agricultural spending is the dearth of information about which types of agricultural investments contribute the most to development goals.

“In some cases governments may have clear principles on how to prioritize their scarce public resources. But they often lack the requisite information to formulate policies, outlining the principles, and designing strategies,” Sula Nuwamanya, from Action Aid said.

To address this challenge, Oketa said governments must increase research in the sector so that the government take action while selecting priority areas for financing.

Nuwamanya said regardless of government policies, some way has to be found to allocate resources across different agricultural sub-sectors with the fundamental goals of increasing efficiency, maximizing productivity, and reducing poverty.

” As a result, government may end up allocating expenditures to activities that have large value for money, but may be less inclusive in impact,” he said.

The government is also investing RWF 163.2 billion in rural development to transform the agricultural sector into a modern commercial sector, reduce rural poverty and improve the quality of life and economic well being of people living in rural areas.

However there is a view that the government involves more of the private sector to take a lead in investment.

This could generate more revenue for the economy.

“There is need to increase incentives such as tax incentives for the private sector to get involved in agriculture, which is more sustainable,” Dickson Malunda, a senior Research Fellow at Institute of Policy and Research- Rwanda said.

More on ActionAid:

ActionAid has been fighting poverty worldwide for over 30 years and working in more than 40 countries. The charity works within regions such as Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean; it is secular and has no political affiliations. The charity campaigns and lobbies against the root causes of poverty, to try to ensure that poor people are treated fairly by governments, companies and international institutions whose decisions affect these people’s everyday lives and their basic human rights. ActionAid works in partnership with communities on practical projects aiming to improve the opportunities for these communities and provide them with facilities such as wells, water systems, schools and health centres in order to tackle the causes of poverty.…Learn more

Source: allafrica. com, ActionAid
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